Extract from Nathan Harris II Will, 1820

The second Nathan Harris, son of the first Nathan, and my 6th great-grandfather, also made a will. However, I have not yet been able to find it! There is a probate file for Nathan online, however, because of family disputes about the estate.

The probate file includes an extract from the original will. I wrote about this court case earlier. Basically, Kenneth Bembry was made guardian to Patsy Dicken’s three younger brothers. He promptly absconded with the Dicken family slaves to Florida! Elias Bryan was then appointed as the brothers’ guardian. He and Thomas Bembry, on behalf of his wife, Patsy, appealed to the court to force Kenneth to bring the slaves back.

This probate file does not indicate exactly when Nathan Harris actually made the will or when he died. He is last found on the Edgecombe County census in 1800, and the probate file is dated 1820, so it was most likely between 1800 and 1810. The file also indicates that Richard and Polly Harris Dicken were both dead by 1820. Their daughter, Frances Dicken is “of full age” so she must have been born no later than 1799.

Edgecombe County Court
November session 1820

The petition of Thomas Bembry and Martha his wife, Frances Dicken of full age, Matthew Dicken, Ephraim Dicken, and William Dicken, infant under the age of twenty one years by their guardian Elias Bryant…

…having died in the month of [ ] in the year [ ] having previously made and published this last will and testament in writing and herein and hereby appoints Elias Bryan and David Coffield Executors thereof and also Testamentary Guardians to your Petitioners and their mother Polly Dicken who has since died…

“My will and desire is that all residue of my estate (that either lent or given away) both real and personal be vested in my Executors hereafter named or if either of them should die or refuse to act for my daughter Polly and or grand children to be supported at the discretion of my Executors or either of them until such time as my Grand Daughter Francis Dicken arrives at the age of twenty one years or until my son in law Richard Dicken dies,

…my will and desire is that when either of the above cases happen either the coming of age of the said Grand Daughter or the death of said Son in Law then my Executor or Executors divide or cause to be divided that all my negroes as well as other pieces of my property including the personal property lent my loving wife provided she is dead and not otherwise as regards to the property lend, land excepted between my daughter Polly Dicken and her children that she may have hereafter as well or there the ? has at the [illegible] share and share alike between them their heirs and assigns

..only it is to be remembered and born in mind that I have given my grand daughter Franky Dicken two negroes and their increase by the name of Polly and Jordan and that my will is that the said Franky is not to have any part of the estate before the legacies mentioned [illegible] and made equal in property to what I have also one day given her, after that, should there be any of the my estate left she is to divide with the rest, that is with her mother if any living and brothers and sisters.”


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